Windows 8: Policing Your Apps Under One Banner

I don’t know if you’ve heard about Microsoft’s plan on a kill switch, but this is the news: Microsoft will be able to kill apps bought from the Windows 8 app store. Even if you did, you should listen up about the new kill switch Microsoft is offering for Windows 8 and a couple of reasons why it’s not a good idea. I think the most obvious thought on anyone’s mind is when hearing about this is: Why does Microsoft have to go all Big Brother on us? The answer is: They’ve been doing it subtly for a long time, but it’s now becoming more and more obvious.

Now, Here’s the Irony

You might think that Microsoft is a police-ish type of company. While that’s true, it certainly isn’t the first one. Google has been watching your searches for a very long time. Apple and Google already have kill switches for their mobile operating systems. They use this to remove applications from your phone and from their application repositories whenever they feel it’s necessary. Fortunately for you, the companies aren’t screwing around with your personal computer’s data. Nevertheless, Microsoft isn’t the first company to put forth a feature that allows it to remove any application they deem a threat from a device you use.

The Difference Between Microsoft & Apple/Google

OK, so Apple’s got its security switch and so does Google. Why am I incriminating Microsoft so much?

Maybe because they’re doing this on personal computers, too!

To most ordinary people, the personal computer is their sacred space – an unalterable space of intimacy and privacy where one could delve away from being constantly spied on by mobile carriers and manufacturers. The personal computer hasn’t had as many heinous things done to it as we have seen on mobile devices.  Microsoft now puts your computer in a state of martial law, making sure you comply to what its idea of a good application is without question.

The police state on your PC will allow Microsoft to pull any apps from your computer that you took from Windows Store. Microsoft puts the blame on possible security vulnerabilities and legal concerns. While I understand that security vulnerabilities pop up once in a while, doesn’t Microsoft have to deal with the legal part before it approves the application for Windows Store? Isn’t it a bit irresponsible to put an illegal application into your marketplace?

Microsoft’s Word on The Issue

Microsoft clearly states everything it has to in the Windows Store Terms of Service. Under the section labeled “Can Microsoft remove apps or data from my device”, the company clearly states that it can pull your apps without previously notifying you. On the bright side, Microsoft will re-compensate you for every penny you spent on any application you bought. Further into the ToS, you’ll notice that Microsoft reserves the right to remove all data associated with the application as well. This means that, if you don’t have backups, you’ll end up losing everything without any compensation for the valuable information you have lost.


If it doesn’t bother you that Microsoft can remove its apps from your computer at any point, be my guest. Install Windows 8. Personally, I’m only installing it when it comes out to gather information about its interface and application programming interface. Otherwise, I would just keep my Windows 7 installation. What’s your take on the issue of Windows 8’s police state?

Miguel Leiva-Gomez
Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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